PDX: Going Far East with Expatriate
Expatriate is quite the sexy restaurant. The newish Expatriate serves what I’m calling neo-Asian fusion. The cocktails however aren’t terribly themed out. I picked out something with happy ingredients and then made quick work of the menu.
As per usual, we wanted most of the small plates getting 10 small plates for 4 people seemed liked a good idea at the time.
I loved my cocktail. It was exactly what I always want- brown, bitter, stirred. I’ve been obsessed with the Dolin Genepy des Alpes (a Green Chartreuse doppleganger) and was happy to see this drink using it in a cocktail.
No. 8 – Pierre Ferrand cognac, George Dickle rye, Dolin Genepy des Alpes, Cocchi di Torrino sweet vermouth, Regans’ No. 6 orange bitters
What makes the Burmese tea leaf salad at Expatriate different is the addition of green papaya. This salad tends to have a lot of crunch already but I didn’t mind more. It was also nice to see green papaya used differently. I still like the Thai version but seeing this makes me think I could use green papaya for other things. I could also see maybe switching in jicama or chayote when available in this dish.
I’ve never been much of a Polynesian or Old School American Chinese fan. Although made with great crab, the Dungenese crab ragoon didn’t do it for me. Mainly because I’m not a crab ragoon fan in the first place. I loved the plate however. That sort of kitschy thing gave the dish an extra couple of points to presentation.
Another flavor bomb came in the form of samosa chaat. The samosa was made with English peas (love English peas) and this had a lot of crunch from the fried chick peas. I really enjoyed the sumac ranch dressing though I didn’t get much of the tamarind brown butter. Or rather, it didn’t taste oily– just a lot of great flavor.
Along the lines of the Burmese tea leaf salad and samosa chaat, another boldly flavored dish was the Brussels sprouts. Yes, you either love or hate Brussels sprouts and I happen to love them. I was beginning to tire of fried individual Brussels sprouts but this dish proves it can be done effectively and in a non-greasy way. That bit of mint is obviously garnish but I ate some of it since I like mint in my food (duh).
It can’t possibly be Asian or Asian inspired if there aren’t any noodles on the menu. Luckily I got my fix in the form of the crab paste noodles. I didn’t think corn was still in season but the sweetness of the kernels proved me wrong. Another great dish. Savory without being salty.
I insisted on getting the Korean fried game hen and tempura halibut fish sandwich. Although I rail against fried food sometimes I can’t help but love some really good fried food. The tempura fish was perfect and I reluctantly shared this small sandwich. Get your own.
On the other hand, my dining companions were done pretty much by the time we got the game hen so it was all mine. It was good breading but I had a hard time cutting it up to divide among my food buddies. So I ate all of it. Yeah!
The James Beard’s onion and butter sandwich baffled me. We ordered it because we were in Portland and James Beard was from Portland. But really, it is exactly what it sounds like. Save your $4 and order more cocktails.
5424 NE 30th Ave., Portland, OR 97211 — (503) 805-3750
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